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IoT News | Apr 01, 2020

IoT Device Management in 2020

In this post, we will talk about the powerful impact of full Device Management capabilities on IoT. We will list the main features that make carrier-grade, full-featured device management solutions, and see how they can optimize the deployment and management of IoT services.

What is Device Management?

How does Device Management fit into the IoT space? The puzzle below is a simplified illustration of the IoT ecosystem. The IoT space consists of many puzzle pieces - the main ones are Hardware, Connectivity, Device Management, Analytics, and Cyber Security.


IoT Platform Components

Some IoT platform providers offer all of the components on one platform. Often this means that they have a partial capability of a few of the IoT puzzle pieces but are not great at any one particular IoT component. Sometimes, they can be good at one specific part, like application enablement, but they may not be competent in other areas.

The trend of choosing the best of breed solutions for each part of the IoT ecosystem is getting stronger. Large companies typically prefer to pick separate solution providers for each of the puzzle pieces and integrate them into a full end-to-end solution.

Challenges of the IoT Service Providers

IoT service providers are interested in growing their revenue. Launching an IoT service such as Smart water metering, Smart City or Smart Home requires initial onboarding of IoT devices and sensors, which can turn into a lengthy, complicated, and expensive manual process.

Challenge #1 - Connecting multiple types of devices supporting various protocols.

A particular low footprint IoT device may only support a CoAP transport, or it might have an HTTP endpoint while other constrained devices can potentially support MQTT or LwM2M protocols. Other, more complex IoT devices may support TR-069 or TR-369 USP standards. Managing all these devices on one platform can become a real headache for service providers.

Challenge #2 - Avoiding substantial investment in manual work to make these devices manageable.

Boarding a new type of IoT device onto the platform can turn into a challenge, whether the device supports a standard device management protocol, a non-standard, unstructured device management protocol (HTTP or CoAP), or even a proprietary protocol.

How can service providers avoid manual efforts and intervention and tackle the provisioning of the devices which can require configuration files, homologation, or testing?

Challenge #3 - Making sure that IoT devices are FULLY manageable.

Some generic IoT device management platforms handle MQTT or CoAPs devices, collect the device data, and present it on an IoT dashboard. They call these features "IoT device management" when it is, in fact, data management.

The generic IoT platforms typically do not support provisioning, diagnostics, repair, bootstrap, registration, and FOTA. Running these commands is required not only for an individual device but for the groups of devices - a critical function when managing mass fleets of IoT devices.

What are the full capabilities of Device Management in IoT?

  • IoT provisioning - In some cases, provisioning means modifying the device’s default factory configuration like power-saving mode. The provisioning is automated in a device management platform, whereas the generic IoT platforms don’t provision devices or are weak at doing that.
  • Management of devices with complex data models – Devices based on TR-069, TR-369, LwM2M, or OMA-DM standards, have fairly complex data models. Generic IoT platforms typically do not interface with them.
  • Multi-protocol device management - Device management can bring most of the standard and non-standard protocols like TR-069/ TR-369 USP, MQTT, LwM2M, CoAP, HTTP, and even custom protocols, to a common denominator. Specific devices might come with a custom interface. Device management solutions can add a protocol adaptor to standardize the device interface and make it manageable along with other types of devices. Generic IoT platforms typically are not able to do that.
  • Parameters monitoring and events triggering - Both generic IoT platforms and IoT device management software can handle this feature well.
  • Data collection - This is a powerful feature of a standard IoT platform. However, only device management solutions can collect data from LwM2M or TR-369 USP devices.
  • Group updates or campaign management - This is the feature where device management solution truly shines. It is the ability to perform such management commands as FOTA on specific groups of devices during specified timeframes, reset of a group of devices, pushing group configurations, and many others.
  • Remote diagnostics and repair - Device management solutions can interface with various protocols, and run more detailed diagnostics and repair than standard IoT platforms.
  • Application interfacing - Custom IoT applications (mobile or webtop) and dashboard is a strong point of generic IoT platforms. Device management solution is not about application development, but about facilitating the data and interface to a cloud or IoT app enablement system for the generation of custom applications.

IoT Platforms Comparison 2020

The Friendly One-IoT™ Device Management

Friendly’s One-IoT™ is a robust, unified device management platform for any vertical. The solution enables remote management of any type of IoT device, including constrained devices with limited RAM, power, and connectivity capabilities.

Friendly’s One-IoT™ features a Management Portal, Technician Portal, Monitoring & Analytics Dashboard, and extensive API for customization of vertical applications. Friendly provides an application generator module that enables the quick and easy generation and the update of custom applications without coding.

Friendly’s IoT solution can be offered via Friendly’s IoT Cloud (SaaS) or installed at the customer’s premises.

Smart Layer™ Technology – Solving the Main Challenges of IoT Management

Friendly’s One-IoT™ Device Management is based on Friendly’s advanced Smart Layer™ technology that enables automation of the onboarding of new device types to the system without manual work. The solution adjusts the screens of the Technician Portal and admin console, to display only relevant device settings.

Smart Layer™ technology enables unified management of all types of devices regardless of their protocols. Friendly’s Unified API simplifies the process of IoT application development and significantly reduces its costs.

The Architecture

The Main Features

  • Full IoT device lifecycle management - automated provisioning, device diagnostics and repair, remote device configuration, group management, FW updates, monitoring and data collection, event triggering
  • Sensor and gateway management
  • Management of multiple protocols on one platform: LwM2M, MQTT, TR-369 USP, OMA-DM, CoAP, and others
  • Unified API
  • Admin & Technician portals

Would you like to see a demo of the Friendly One-IoT™ Device Management? Contact us now.

We are looking for HW vendors and would like to introduce them to our customers - IoT service providers. Join our One-IoT™ Partner Program, connect your devices to our platform and get access to a multitude of IoT opportunities.

Liel Anisenko

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